Wellness and Art Therapy at BHGH of NY

By: Naomi Cohen-Thompson, Director of Wellness and Therapeutic Services

Fall and early winter of 2018 have proved to be a joyful and creative one for our BHGH scholars!  The Wellness and Art Therapy Programming has offered our Boys Hope Girls Hope of New York community moments and opportunities to connect with one another, get messy and express themselves.

At both dorms, our scholars are exposed to art therapy workshops, groups and individual sessions where they are challenged to express their feelings and ideas through visual art and healthy communication strategies.  Our scholars and staff are living in the middle of the New York art world, so for our first monthly Saturday Program, our scholars rode the subway to a variety of exhibits at local museums and explored their experiences through sketching and writing.  Their insight and creativity continues to impress us all.

Once again, we have partnered with the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan NYC.  This amazing  and long-term partnership has gifted us with two fabulous Art Therapy interns, Adrian and William.  Workshops have included, but are not limited to, “Mindfulness and Art,” weekly open studio workshops, Play Therapy through ping-pong tournaments and holiday ornament creation. These activities, led by William and Adrian, bring an irreplaceable energy and care to the two dorms, and we cannot wait to see what they offer our scholars next semester!

For the 2018-2019 school year, I have started to incorporate some Wellness-specific activities at both sites to offer additional and necessary self-care and emotional structure for our scholars. Baking happens monthly in each dorm, and it has shown to produce some amazing culinary drive in certain scholars, along with bringing a positivity to the space and community.  Plus, we all benefit when we get to eat their creations!

As our Seniors complete their applications to college, I have been offering guided breathing and meditation to ease stress and calm nerves so they can more productively focus on the hard work they have in front of them.

We are all excited for the opportunities that lie ahead surrounding health and wellness in the new year!

Invest in the success of our scholars!